Sleep Can Help Beat The Coronavirus
A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP CAN HELP YOU FIGHT VIRUSES
Sleep is always important, but right now it plays an integral role in our immune system. Eating right, exercising, and quality sleep all increase the body’s immune system. Quality sleep can also affect how fast a person recovers if they do get sick. Whereas lack of sleep can weaken the immune system, making people more vulnerable. Studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as the common cold, or Coronavirus.
In these times of crisis and stress, our basic needs sometimes go out the window. People are struggling with the myriad of changes in their daily lives due to COVID-19. From healthcare workers working extra-long and stressful hours. Parents at home with children, struggling to keep them busy. Or those locked down at home binge watching shows or Doomscrolling day and night.
These stresses can significantly impact the quality and duration of our sleep. Lack of sleep, whether from added stress or a significant change in your daily schedule, can have a severe impact on our physical and mental health at a time when we need to be our strongest. A sleep-deprived immune system just doesn’t work as well. Long-term lack of sleep also increases the risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart and cardiovascular disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 35.2% of adults in the United States are getting less than 7 hours of sleep each night. The optimal amount of sleep for most adults is seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night. Teenagers need nine to 10 hours of sleep. School-aged children may need 10 or more hours of sleep.
It can be easy to lose sight of how changes in our daily habits influence our ability to sleep well. The concept of sleep hygiene focuses on how to use your habits and routines to your advantage when it comes to sleep. It also includes optimizing your sleep environment so that you can relax and rest easy when you turn in for the night.
Here are some tips for getting a better night’s sleep:
- Stick to a sleep schedule – same bed/wake time, even on the weekends
- Dim the lights 2-3 hours before bedtime to stimulate the release of melatonin
- Power off all electronic devices 60 minutes prior to bedtime
- Create a relaxing pre-bedtime routine
- Watch nighttime fluid intake – drink enough fluids, but not so close to bedtime
- Avoid naps especially in late afternoon
- Exercise daily- but if possible, not within 2-3 hours of bedtime
- Get plenty of sunshine
- Create a comfortable sleep environment
- Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy meals in the evening
- If you can’t sleep, get out of bed and do something relaxing until you feel tired
- Keep a sleep diary to help evaluate common patterns.
Stress and sleep are closely linked. We hope that these trying times soon will pass. But if your sleep issues continue, contact one of our Sleep Medicine Professionals. Stay safe out there.